This is a dangerous game the Kings play.
Nights like Tuesday make for a cool story about 18-point comeback the resulted in a 100-94 victory over the Detroit Pistons at Golden 1 Center to end Sacramento’s three-game losing streak.
But must the Kings make it so hard on themselves? How many times can the Kings hope Ty Lawson and the rest of the second unit can save them, as they did again Wednesday?
It can be exciting, but it’s also something the Kings would like not be the habit it’s becoming in their wins.
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“It’s been well noticed that we’re a team that can comeback in the fourth and all that,” said DeMarcus Cousins. “But that’s starting to run it’s course, kinda. We can’t keep putting ourselves in this situation where we have to make these dramatic finishes at the end because it’s not always turn out the way it did tonight.”
The Kings were bad on offense and defense in falling behind 70-52 with 6:53 left in the third quarter. Soon, the Kings would begin to receive an infusion of energy from the bench.
Lawson, Omri Casspi and Kosta Koufos played major parts in shaking the Kings out of their funk to end the third and carried that over into the fourth quarter, when the Kings outscored the Pistons 32-17.
“We just still had to play within ourselves,” Koufos said. “We knew that there was a lot of basketball left. Everybody that came off the bench played well tonight.”
Lawson played the entire fourth quarter and was the spark in the second half.
Lawson had just eight points and two assists. He missed seven of his nine shots. But the energy he played with was contagious and a team that looked lackadaisical suddenly had some pep.
The Kings appeared to struggle defensively because of missed shots. Once they found some energy on defense, the offense also had some life.
“They know if they give me the ball I’m going to look up, get somebody open so we all run our lanes and I just try to find people,” Lawson said. “And normally other teams aren’t used to that. So I’m getting in there, they’re knocking down shots and we’re just playing at a different rhythm.”
The Kings committed 17 turnovers for the game, but only one came in the fourth.
Kings coach Dave Joerger said some of them were uncharacteristic mistakes, like turnovers in the backcourt. Once the Kings cleaned that up, they were able to put away Detroit.
“I give Detroit credit,” Joerger said. “They were aggressive and physical and id a good job. Once we started taking care of the ball we got in more of an attack mode, we were much better defensively. Giving up 38 points in a the second half makes your offense a lot easier.”
The Kings (16-22) would like to make it easier on themselves by not trailing big.
The Pistons (18-22) couldn’t hold on to the lead, but the Kings haven’t always been so fortunate with their comeback attempts.
“We’ve got to full games together,” Cousins said. “It’s been talked about, we’ve been working on it, we’re going to continue to work on it. We’ve just got to find a solution.”
Cousins finished gave highs of 24 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. Anthony Tolliver matched his season high with 17 points and Casspi had a season-high 10 rebounds. Koufos had 12 points and eight rebounds.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pople led the Pistons with 21 points. Reggie Jackson had 19 points and Tobias Harris added 18 points. Andre Drummond grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked a career-high seven shots.